Shorts International’s channel ShortsHD is making this year’s Oscar nominees in the categories of Live Action Short Film and Animated Short Film available on VOD and digital platforms beginning today. The lineup already has gotten a release in more than 400 theaters nationwide. It’s the ninth year the organization has distributed the program ahead of the Oscars ceremony. The shorts are now available on iTunes, Amazon, and via VOD through cable providers Comcast, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Charter Communications, RCN, Midcontinent and Metrocast. As a refresher, here are this year’s nominees in the categories:
The same day that Disney launches its mega-hit Frozen in the digital realm, the company is announcing a cloud-based purchase and storage service for its films. In a new deal with Apple, Disney Movies Anywhere goes live today exclusively through iTunes, kicking off with more than 400 Disney, Pixar and Marvel titles such as Iron Man 3, Finding Nemo and Mary Poppins. The service allows users to browse, buy, manage and watch movies on PCs and iOS devices using an app or website. The move comes 15 months after the company announced it was pulling the plug on Disney Movies Online, its barely-known and costly Internet pic service.
Not that DMA is without precedent.
In many ways, DMA is Disney’s answer to UltraViolet. While the House of Mickey has not been a part of the UltraViolet gang, the cloud-based digital rights library has been backed by many of the other major studios as well as Lionsgate, DreamWorks Animation and HBO, among others. With two such systems now on the movie market, there undoubtedly will be concerns about consumer confusion over DMA and UltraViolet, which debuted in 2011. The latter’s backers want the service to be the industry standard and to provide consumers with a single digital locker for their movies. A desire the new DMA now challenges.
Additionally, the tie-up with Apple is key for Disney. Right now UltraViolet titles can be played on Apple devices, with the help of an app, but don’t show up in iTunes. DMA is powered by KeyChest, Disney’s adaptable technology that can integrate with any existing distribution partner as well as work with new ones to enable access to digital content. DMA bolsters the companies’ ties with Apple. Last year, the Disney Channel app was made available on Apple TV.
Once again, soap opera lawsuits are vexing ABC. Having been hit with a now $125 million breach of contract suit by Prospect Park over licensed soaps All My Children and One Life To Live, the network also faces a legal action from one of the soaps’ former writers. Requesting a trial and claiming he is owed more than $50,000 in royalties from OLTL being played on iTunes, Hulu and OWN, Allison “Sam” Hall this week slapped ABC with a complaint in New York Supreme Court (read it here). Hall served as co-lead writer on OLTL from November 1984 to mid-1985. Because he “created and developed the story line and numerous characters in the series,” Hall says his deal with the network ensured that he would be paid weekly royalties of $1,000 a week “as long as the ONE LIFE TO LIVE series is broadcast.”
OLTL ceased airing on ABC in early January 2012 but the network had licensed the show in late 2011 to Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz’s Prospect Park for new online episodes as well as a 10-week showing on OWN. Those 30-minutes episodes launched in April of last year. Though the new digital OLTL was suspended after 40 episodes and PP and ABC have been locked in a legal battle over alleged broken agreements and claims of sabotage since last spring.
UPDATE, 9:30 AM: Apple are breaking out their wallet today and breaking good it seems. Just days before Breaking Bad ends forever, the company is refunding the fans over their iTunes purchase of the last episodes of the AMC show. This iTunes $22.99 credit on Apple’s part doesn’t come cheap being that Breaking Bad was one of the most popular TV series on the online store. And it comes over two weeks (see below) after one irate fan began a class action suit against the tech company for its double dipping charges on Season 5 of the drama on iTunes. Back in mid-2012, AMC announced that the final season of Breaking Bad would be split up. However people who had bought a Season Pass to that season of the show on Apple’s music and video service didn’t discover until the second part of the cycle debuted on August 11 this year that they would have to pay another fee on top of their Season 5 Season Pass fee to watch the last 8 episodes. Those shows were now called “The Final Season” on iTunes. Needless to say, the fans were not happy and it looks like Apple or AMC or both heard them loud and clear. Check out the email that Apple sent out today to customers:
We apologize for any confusion the naming of “Season 5″ and “The Final Season” of Breaking Bad might have caused you. While the names of the seasons and episodes associated with them were not chosen by iTunes, we’d like to offer you “The Final Season” on us by providing you with the iTunes code below in the amount of $22.99. This credit can also be used for any other content on the iTunes Store. Thank you for your purchase.
Pandora Media’s down 7.7% this afternoon after CNET reported that Apple is “close” to enlisting Universal Music and Warner Music for an iTunes-linked streaming service. Apple would make it easy for users to buy songs that they …
Global Showbiz Briefs: India’s ‘24’, ITV Shifts Mike Blair, iTunes Prices In Oz, Plus JFK & Afghan Docs
Clock To Start Ticking For Indian ’24′
Slumdog Millionaire star Anil Kapoor is getting to work on the Indian version of the TV series 24. The actor, who was featured in the final season of Fox/20th TV’s real-time drama, will produce via his Anil Kapoor Film Co. He’ll also play the Jack Bauer character, now reportedly named Jai Singh Rathod, in the local take. According to BollywoodLife, production was due to kick off this week at Kapoor’s Stage 21 studio near Mumbai. Delhi Belly director Abhinay Deo is helming the series and Rensil D’Silva, who’s directing Sanjay Dutt’s Ungli, is scripting. The local broadcast partner is Viacom-owned Colors. Kapoor will next be seen on the big screen in Shootout At Wadala directed by Sanjay Gupta.
Controversial Singaporean film Sex.Violence.FamilyValues has just been banned in Malaysia but the producers have sold the 47-minute pastiche of three comedies to a U.S. distributor and are close to finalizing a deal with iTunes. Writer-director Ken Kwek’s English-language …
DreamWorks, which rousted former President Bill Clinton to introduce the Steven Spielberg-directed Lincoln at Sunday’s Golden Globes, continues to pull out the stops to get the movie noticed in Oscar season. Today, they’ve released a behind-the-scenes special entitled …
At a TCA panel yesterday, PBS president Paula Kerger said, “We’re not punishing our viewers.” The comment was made with regard to the lag time between when Downton Abbey airs on the UK’s ITV and in the U.S. on PBS. Well, here’s good news for folks who can’t get enough fast enough of the Crawley clan – and for those trying to avoid the spoilers that have been whizzing around the Web. Apple said yesterday that North American subscribers to iTunes who purchase a season pass for the show will get a jump on the last three episodes of season three before they air on PBS. The episodes, including the special season finale which airs on February 17, will be available for download on iTunes beginning January 29. The period drama’s second season was the best-selling TV series on iTunes last year and the exclusive season three Downton preview is said to be a first for the company.
The data out today from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group may suggest that the period of steep declines in home video spending — largely driven by the collapse of the DVD market — is over. But it also …
Even if you don’t have Spotify on your computer or smartphone screen, you should put it on your radar. Music execs tell me that the streaming service, introduced in the U.S. last July, is beginning to break from the pack of digital music providers which includes Pandora, Rdio, Rhapsody, MOG, and Slacker. ”The big question is whether it will become the iTunes of the streaming media market,” one tells me. Credit Suisse’s John Blackledge took note of Spotify yesterday in a 63-page report initiating coverage of Pandora Media, which offers a radio-like streamed service. “There is a lot of discussion and buzz around Spotify,” he says noting that it is “looking to siphon market share” from some of the giant sellers of downloaded music including iTunes and Amazon. Spotify has about 10M active users worldwide. (The company won’t break out the figures by country.) The vast majority use its ad-supported, free service which — in the U.S. – offers unlimited access to its library of more than 16M songs including tunes from all four major recorded music companies: Universal, Sony, Warner, and EMI. (No Beatles, though; iTunes has exclusive online rights to the group’s catalog.) The company’s goal, though, is to nudge users into paying for a subscription. About 3M people pay either $4.99 a month (for unlimited, ad-free streams to computers) or $9.99 (for unlimited, ad-free streams to mobile and digital devices as well as computers, and the ability to download songs for off-line listening). Users can listen to specific songs on demand, or let the service create playlists based on a particular performer or other criteria. While other companies offer similar services, execs say that Spotfy one of the easiest to use — and integrates well with Facebook, where users can share songs, playlists and recommendations. Indeed, only Facebook members now can sign up for Spotify.
Steven Spielberg/Oren Peli thriller series collaboration The River makes its U.S. debut on February 7 on ABC. In a first for producer ABC Studios, the shows will then be available via iTunes in the U.K. 24 hours later. There is currently no U.K. broadcaster deal for The River, although an announcement is expected soon. Meanwhile, U.K. iTunes customers can watch the series on a one-day delay during its entire run. Experiments like this are partly a means to deter piracy and are proving more frequent (they’re also welcome for frustrated fans in Europe). In 2010, for example, ITV made Vampire Diaries available on iTunes in the U.K. before it started airing the popular show. In France, leading broadcaster TF1 makes episodes of shows like House available via its own VOD service on a 24-hour delay from the U.S. TF1 also airs the series on TV at a one-season delay and the show remains a ratings powerhouse. In the U.S., Fox last
BURBANK, CA, December 23, 2011 – The new trailer for Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ The Dark Knight Rises smashed the record for most combined downloads through the iTunes Movie Trailers site (www.itunes.com/ trailers) and the iTunes